One of the Early Minority Lawyers in Utah

S. F. Mori

A Japanese American lawyer from Ogden
Utah State Capitol(Image is author's)

The State of Utah now has over 8,000 lawyers who are considered in the racial minority category. There were very few in the early days of Utah's history.

Although there is another person who is listed as the first Japanese American lawyer in Utah, Mas Yano was well known in the community as one of the first minority lawyers of Japanese heritage in Utah.

Yano was born on June 7,1918, in Ogden, Utah, to immigrant parents from Japan. He passed away on March 2, 2000, in Salt Lake City at the age of 81.

He attended grade school in Corinne, Utah, and graduated from Box Elder High School. He attended BYU and graduated with high honors. He studied law at the University of Colorado Law School and at the University of Utah College of Law from which he earned a Juris Doctorate Degree in 1948.

He was married to Tomoko Watanuki on December 6, 1941, in Salt Lake City. She passed away on February 10, 1982.

Yano was admitted to the Utah State Bar in 1949 and later to other bar associations. He worked actively in the legal profession for more than forty years.

He was active in various civic and community organizations, including being chapter president and district governor for the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), Community Nursing Services, the United Fund, and others. He was a lifetime Golden Cougar member and served as a director for the National Cougar Club. He was a past member of the Oakridge Country Club and a lifetime member of the Alpine Country Club.

He served as an officer, director, and legal counsel of many private corporations over his lifetime.

Yano was one of the First Fifty Minority Lawyers in the State of Utah. He was honored by the Utah Minority Bar Association for all his legal accomplishments during his career.

Mas Yano had a long career as a respected lawyer in the State of Utah. He paved the way for many other minority lawyers. He will be remembered as one of the first Japanese Americans to practice law in the state of Utah.

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I am a retired President/CEO of civil rights organizations. I have been a Mayor and California State Assemblyman as well as a College Instructor of Economics. I have also been an entrepreneur and international business consultant. I will be sharing articles mostly about life, politics, racism, travel, health, and relationships.

Salt Lake City, UT

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